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List best to be argued about in a pub
January 13, 2013 8:49 AM   Subscribe

"9 Anheuser-Busch Budweiser Come on – of course it was hugely influential. It pioneered national beer distribution around the US, and it set the standard for what American beer was expected to be." Martyn Cornell lists the twenty most influential beers of all time.
posted by MartinWisse (83 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

 
Seems like a reasonable list to me.
posted by blaneyphoto at 8:55 AM on January 13, 2013


I dunno. If I were to pick an American beer that was influential to the American renaissance of brewing we currently are enjoying, I'd be hard pressed to leave Anchor Steam off the list. Fritz Maytag was pushing craft beer long before there was a craft beer movement. People in the industry said he was crazy to be importing expensive European equipment, that the process he was using to brew his beer was limiting his ability to scale up, and brewing an all malt beer with no adjuncts would never be profitable or compete with other American brands. Fritz simply said that his competition wasn't the American brands, but the imports, and continued on with his vision. As far as Sierra Nevada, they did come up with a uniquely American style of Pale Ale, but then Anchor Steam is a unique American style as well, being a throwback to the pre-prohibition style of beer brewed in San Francisco during the gold rush. All craft brewers in America owe their existence to the ground that Anchor Steam broke.
posted by Eekacat at 9:02 AM on January 13, 2013 [14 favorites]


It bears mention that Cornell's list is a reaction piece to list from First We Feast, which is, as Cornell points out, kind of a head-scratcher.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 9:07 AM on January 13, 2013


I think this is a pretty good list. But then, I thought the First We Feast list was pretty good too.
posted by box at 9:08 AM on January 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


If you follow his logic on what is an "influential beer" the paucity of Anchor knock-offs eliminates it from the discussion. While there are 1000s of over hopped IPA's that are born from the SH IPA rootstock.

But I think you make a good point.

That's also his logic that excludes Guinness.
posted by JPD at 9:08 AM on January 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


Goose Island Bourbon County Stout being included simply because it's the first “aged in barrels used for something else” beer, kind of raises a "So?" response from me. Being the "first" to do something doesn't necessarily mean it earns a 20-best honor. Personally, I find that type of beer pretty overrated.
posted by Thorzdad at 9:10 AM on January 13, 2013


Being the "first" to do something doesn't necessarily mean it earns a 20-best honor

It's a "most influential" list, not a "best" list.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 9:14 AM on January 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


This list is bullshit. Where's Bud Dry?
posted by DirtyOldTown at 9:14 AM on January 13, 2013 [3 favorites]


Bud Dry? C'mon we all know Bud Ice is "The Rite of Spring" of beer. Pearls before swine, first rejected and then years latter acknowledged to be a masterpiece of the form.
posted by JPD at 9:19 AM on January 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


Being the "first" to do something doesn't necessarily mean it earns a 20-best honor.

True, and if this were a 20-best list, you would have a point. However, it is a 20-most-influential list, which is a different thing entirely.

That said, I would nominate the beer from the original (Bohemian Czech) Budweiser Bürgerbräu "City Brewhouse of Budweis"), the import of which into the US in the 1870's inspired Anheuser Busch to start making a Budweis-style beer that you may have heard of.
posted by dersins at 9:23 AM on January 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


Considering things I have done under the influence of lesser beers, I should probably avoid all of these.
posted by Hicksu at 9:24 AM on January 13, 2013 [4 favorites]


pretty awesome amended list and much better than the pretentious first one. and nary a heavy handed American 'craft' beer in the lot. sounds more like a drinking challenge than a list though.
posted by Conrad-Casserole at 9:28 AM on January 13, 2013


If I were to pick an American beer that was influential to the American renaissance of brewing we currently are enjoying, I'd be hard pressed to leave Anchor Steam off the list.

The point of the list was that these beers either changed beer itself, by defining styles, or changed how we drank beer. And I think the list is pretty much dead on. Yes, Budweiser (not Budvar, Budwieser) was one of the most influential beers in the world, basically changing how the entire US drank beer for some 60 years. That may be a bad influence, but *that's* what influence is.

I don't think Anchor Steam did that, or created a style that other beers followed. Like Guiness, it is sui generis. Sierra Nevada's Pale Ale defined the American Pale Ale and move all US craft beer towards a hop-forward profile, and you have to look hard for a craft brewer in the US that doesn't make an APA.

The beer that made craft beer take off, as noted in the article, was Samuel Adams Boston Lager, but it didn't influence any other beer or define a new style -- it was a basic, decent but not stellar, amber lager. Pete's Wicked Ale was another early American craft beer that helped change the palate of American beer drinkers, but again, it wasn't influential *on beer*, it didn't define a current market leading style. It encouraged others to drink and brew different beer, but that's it.

One beer that could have been on that list was Samuel Adams Triple Bock, which, as far as I can tell, was the first of the hypergravity beers (defined as stronger than a barelywine/dopplebock/quadruple) which led to the whole "how strong can we make it" style of beer. Thankfully, that fad seems to have faded. Alas, it's been replaced by "our usual beer IN A BOURBON BARREL" and "a slight variation of our usual beer IN A BOURBON BARREL."

Note that the most influential does not have to be, and often is not, the best example.

This list is bullshit. Where's Bud Dry?

You mean Sapporo Dry. The whole dry brewing and ice brewing thing came from Sapporo, not Anheiser Busch. Thankfully, that seems to have died out as well.
posted by eriko at 9:30 AM on January 13, 2013 [3 favorites]


That first list was way too American heavy, but Sam Adams Utopias really should have been left in. Sam Adams, for all its many faults, does capture so much of the 'microbrew' market for a reason, they figured out how to consistently make an incredible diversity of beers that were both consistent and reasonably interesting. Fowler’s Wee Heavy is worthy but shouldn't have been included to keep Sam Adams in.

Internationally IPAs are not that big of a deal, either Blind Pig's or Hodgson’s East India Pale Ale is totally defensible but not both depending on whether your thinking total beer market or modern. One of them should have been replaced with either Heineken or Becks, and I'd lean towards Heineken, they fucking invented international beer shipping.
posted by Blasdelb at 9:34 AM on January 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


I salute this list. Not because it is the best. Not because I agree with it. But simply because it is all on one page. Cheers!
posted by srboisvert at 9:40 AM on January 13, 2013 [23 favorites]


You mean Sapporo Dry.

Correcting myself. Ashai Breweries was the creator of the dry beer style with Ashai Super Dry.
posted by eriko at 9:41 AM on January 13, 2013


Ballantine Ale should be on the list for making Borromean rings popular.
posted by TedW at 9:43 AM on January 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


I have family in Prague. I can just say this: if you're a beer lover and have not visited the Czech Republic, please do so. Beer is a religion there. $1 for a pint of Budvar or Pilsner Urquell is heaven.

Also, if you're naming Budweiser as influential then Budvar by default should be named instead.

These days I'm drawn to the northwest-style IPAs, which probably deserve to be in a category on their own. The definitive northwest IPA? Not sure about that one.
posted by jimmythefish at 9:45 AM on January 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


It's a good list, but if we're literally listing the most influential beers Watney's Red Barrel probably has to be on there because it was so terrible and so notorious it stopped the march of keg and started the real ale revolution in the UK.
posted by Segundus at 9:48 AM on January 13, 2013 [4 favorites]


While there are 1000s of over hopped IPA's that are born from the SH IPA rootstock.

Over-hopped, you say? Is such a thing even possible? (I looooooove hoppy beer.)
posted by Benny Andajetz at 9:49 AM on January 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


Influence can be bad as well as good.

Anyone who likes Budweiser hates beer.
posted by Decani at 9:52 AM on January 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


I can see the arguments against having Anchor Steam on the list based simply on it's style, however the fact that it was a successful all malt beer brewed in America at at time when American brewers were driving towards lighter and lighter beers with less malt in larger batches and larger more automated breweries. It's Anchor Steam's success that was the example that the entire American craft movement is based on. If that's not influential then I don't know what is.

As far as Budvar vs Budweiser, definitely Budweiser needs to be on the list, not Budvar, which isn't even as old as Budweiser. You'd have to pick another beer from the region. While we might not like American Budweiser, it's definitely on the list for good reason.
posted by Eekacat at 9:58 AM on January 13, 2013


Wait, no Miller High Life? It is the champagne of beers! It is a beer so influential, the French invented champagne to celebrate.
posted by cortex at 10:05 AM on January 13, 2013 [11 favorites]


That first list was way too American heavy, but Sam Adams Utopias really should have been left in. Sam Adams, for all its many faults, does capture so much of the 'microbrew' market for a reason, they figured out how to consistently make an incredible diversity of beers that were both consistent and reasonably interesting. Fowler’s Wee Heavy is worthy but shouldn't have been included to keep Sam Adams in.

Well, if you're going to include Sam Adams (which there's certainly a strong argument for), I don't think Utopia has had anywhere near the impact that Boston Lager has had. You can only brew a Utopia if you've got a huge facility (aging beer takes up lots of room), lots of money to throw at the problem, and a well established brand that can make a 10 year project doable. Utopia is for a small subset of hardcore beer geeks, and just isn't the kind of thing that most breweries can pull of. On the other hand, Boston Lager is the gateway beer for lots of people to get into craft brews and in a lot of ways is the bridge between craft and mass-produced beers.
posted by Gygesringtone at 10:08 AM on January 13, 2013


Anyone who doesn't like Budweiser is probably an Alien. Bud is the best cheap beer to sip at a barbeque on a hot day. And I love good beer too, but damn. Bud. Fuck yeah.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 10:08 AM on January 13, 2013 [3 favorites]


dersins: "That said, I would nominate the beer from the original (Bohemian Czech) Budweiser Bürgerbräu "City Brewhouse of Budweis"), the import of which into the US in the 1870's inspired Anheuser Busch to start making a Budweis-style beer that you may have heard of."

Well, that, and the fact of the Czech church full of Czech immigrants (St. John Nepomuk - I have the 4x4 miter box my great grandfather used to frame the windows of the church) about ten blocks from the AB brewery.
posted by notsnot at 10:09 AM on January 13, 2013


I also would have expected an appearance by this beer, the earliest known recipe.
posted by Gygesringtone at 10:13 AM on January 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


Anyone who doesn't like Budweiser is probably an Alien. Bud is the best cheap beer to sip at a barbeque on a hot day. And I love good beer too, but damn. Bud. Fuck yeah.

Maybe the comparative prices are different in the States but it is the same price as the other supermarket standards in the UK, ie, Heineken export, Stella etc and doesn't compare well.

This list in itself is influential, in that it influenced me to go to the kitchen and get myself a Meantime London Stout, and very pleasant it is too.
posted by biffa at 10:13 AM on January 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


Anyone who likes Budweiser hates beer.

OK, we're cool then.
posted by scratch at 10:14 AM on January 13, 2013 [3 favorites]


The argument for bud isn't about the beer, its about the creation of the modern macrobrew and modern distribution. Beer as a brand. You can argue its a negative influence, but you can't argue it isn't wildly influential.
posted by JPD at 10:16 AM on January 13, 2013 [3 favorites]


Maybe the comparative prices are different in the States but it is the same price as the other supermarket standards in the UK, ie, Heineken export, Stella etc and doesn't compare well.


The Bud in Europe is different than the Bud in the US for some reason I think. It's dirt cheap here.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 10:17 AM on January 13, 2013


Segundus, I'd never heard of Watney's Red Barrel before I saw this infamous Monty Python Sketch. I didn't get the reference until a more-travelled friend told me to substitute "Bleeding Watney's Red Barrel" with "Fucking Budweiser". Then it made sense.
posted by Cookiebastard at 10:28 AM on January 13, 2013


When I started drinking micros, all you could find was Sam Adams, Sierra Nevada, Anchor Steam, and once in a while, Pete's Wicked. For my money, that's the four founding fathers of American micro. And then it all exploded into something wonderful.
posted by Ber at 10:29 AM on January 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


I don't think Anchor Steam did that, or created a style that other beers followed.

Isn't the claim precisely that Anchor Steam did change how Americans drink beer, by breaking ground on the whole craft brewing dealio?
posted by kenko at 10:30 AM on January 13, 2013


"Anyone who doesn't like Budweiser is probably an Alien. Bud is the best cheap beer to sip at a barbeque on a hot day. And I love good beer too, but damn. Bud. Fuck yeah."

Seriously. At least until a couple of years ago with the take over before the takeover, Budweiser was a legitimately decent utility beer that is indeed an acquired taste with the rice component. However it is not nearly as reminiscent of piss as many fancy sour beers that need a lot more acquiring before you can appreciate them. Leaving it off of any list like this is also inexcusable for all of the industrial realities of international beer production and distribution that most people don't see, Budweiser invented a hell of a lot of it specifically for their beer.
posted by Blasdelb at 10:44 AM on January 13, 2013 [6 favorites]


In addition to its inherent qualities and its popularization of stouts in general, I think Guinness has earned a spot if only for the Student's T Test it inspired.
posted by Blasdelb at 10:46 AM on January 13, 2013 [3 favorites]


In praise of Budweiser.
posted by kenko at 10:50 AM on January 13, 2013 [5 favorites]


Ashai Breweries was the creator of the dry beer style with Ashai Super Dry.

If we are bringing Japan into it, a cursory check of the offering racks at Shinto shrines shows that Heineken is a great favorite of the Kami. Who are we to argue with the gods?
posted by GenjiandProust at 10:56 AM on January 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


Bud is gassy pisswater.
posted by GallonOfAlan at 11:04 AM on January 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


No you.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 11:06 AM on January 13, 2013


In praise of Budweiser.

Hell To The Yeah.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 11:06 AM on January 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


That article makes good points but it takes the typical contrarian tack of obscuring the real issue at hand with bluster and orthogonal concerns. For the most part, people who think Budweiser is bad think so because they don't like the taste. Certainly they tend to recast that subjective judgment in empirical-sounding terms like the ones debunked in the article, but debunking those misconceptions doesn't amount to establishing that Budweiser is a "good beer" because the people that don't like it aren't defining "good beer" that way.
posted by invitapriore at 11:10 AM on January 13, 2013


I would strenuously argue against the replacement of Westmalle Tripel in the original list with Duvel. Duvel was originally a dark beer, and its conversion to a golden ale only happened in the 70s as a reaction to the increasing demand for golden beers in Belgium, which could only have been sparked by Westmalle's Tripel.
posted by daveje at 11:11 AM on January 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


Maybe I have a problem with beech.
Back in the day, every time I unknowingly drank from a keg of Budweiser, I would end up with the most astounding headaches.
And I can happily drink other American style lagers; Miller, Coors, Lonestar, Oly, Schaeffers, Schlits, it doesn't matter. But Bud . . . shudder. The pain.
posted by Seamus at 11:12 AM on January 13, 2013


The Bud in Europe is different than the Bud in the US for some reason I think. It's dirt cheap here.

It's not. It's just that the pricing and marketing is different. Bud is in the same category as Stella (one of my UK friends calls it french fighting lager) and other grocery store loss leaders in the UK. Generally lager is very cheap in the UK. Leffe is also a cheap grocery store beer relative to the price in the US. This kind of international marketing difference exists for lots of beers. Nobody in Canada drinks Molson Golden. It is practically just a for export beer. Japanese beers have a slight premium in most of the West but are considered cheap low class beers in Australia (or so I am told - I have never been down under).

Beer tax is also much higher in just about every other country in the world.
posted by srboisvert at 11:13 AM on January 13, 2013


substitute "Bleeding Watney's Red Barrel" with "Fucking Budweiser"

They each have their own peculiar horrors, but that's the general idea.

Budweiser is a rice-based fermented beverage rather than a beer as I understand it.
posted by Segundus at 11:14 AM on January 13, 2013


Anyone who doesn't like Budweiser is probably an Alien. Bud is the best cheap beer to sip at a barbeque on a hot day. And I love good beer too, but damn. Bud. Fuck yeah.

I don't know, I've had plenty of (still pretty cheap) non-Budweiser beers that are light and don't demand your attention taste-wise that I think are better barbecue beers than Bud. I'll drink it and drink it happily if it's what's on hand, but an argument that it's the "best" in that context seems more like it relies on an appeal to tradition than any particular quality of the beer itself. And that's fine! Context matters. I think it just pays to think about what part of the experience makes you respond the way you do.
posted by invitapriore at 11:16 AM on January 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


I also think Guinness should go back in. It's absolutely ubiquitous, and in a world filled with cheap watery piss, it was often the only decent beer in many pubs.

The number of people Guinness has influenced to seek out more interesting beers than those produced by the other brewing giants is probably incalculable. Think of it as a gateway drug. And it's a damn fine stout in its own right.
posted by daveje at 11:22 AM on January 13, 2013 [12 favorites]


I can definitely see why Budweiser is included in the list even though I detest it, but I detest it because I detests larger in general so there is that. blech

Anchor Steam may well also be influential, but damn if I'm gong to support that trademark abusing jackass company. It's possible they could have been more influential by allowing the steam style to be used/named appropriately thus being the basis for a resurgence of the style.
posted by edgeways at 11:24 AM on January 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


Wait, no Miller High Life? It is the champagne of beers!

MHL has become my go-to cheap summer beer, which is unfortunate, given the white trash connotations it's acquired. Interestingly enough, its bad reputation only dates back to the 1980s, when Miller tried to make it its downmarket beer in order to make room for Miller Genuine Draft, I think.
posted by Cash4Lead at 11:42 AM on January 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


Mickey's Big Mouth is Miller's downmarket beer.

or is that too far down for you?
posted by R. Schlock at 11:46 AM on January 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


Schlitz Gusto 1960's Formula is your go-to summer BBQ beer. Failing that, hit the High Life.
posted by schoolgirl report at 11:59 AM on January 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


FUCK THAT SHIT. Pabst Blue Ribbon!
posted by DirtyOldTown at 12:02 PM on January 13, 2013 [3 favorites]


Miller High Life is my "can't afford Yuengling this week" beer.

Also, Andre is the beer of champagnes.
posted by Cookiebastard at 12:09 PM on January 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


Also, Andre is the beer of champagnes.

I've been making that joke for years. I demand royalties ;-)
posted by Cash4Lead at 12:11 PM on January 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


Having just age-checked you in your profile, Cash4Lead, I think I might have a better case for having coined that joke. But I don't really want to quibble, so let's split the difference on a bottle of Champale some time! (It's the champagne flavored beer of something something.)
posted by Cookiebastard at 12:29 PM on January 13, 2013


The problem with PBR is that it costs more than Bud, Miller or Coors (which cost more than Lonestar, Schlitz or Schaeffers).
If I see someone around here drinking PBR, I know it ain't for the taste or the price.
posted by Seamus at 12:31 PM on January 13, 2013


Budweiser ...You might not like that standard, but millions of drinkers did

Ha ha! So that's what "influential" means? So, then, why leave out that Miller Lite horse-piss millions supposedly choose? Slippery slope. In which case, name the hoary progenitor, Hamm's.

While it's a novelty, I'd guess Hoegaarden is about as influential as Whatney's Red Barrel. The fruity Belgians have probably had the most influence recently.
posted by Twang at 12:32 PM on January 13, 2013


The problem with PBR is that is cost more than Bud, Miller or Coors

not where i live
posted by pyramid termite at 12:43 PM on January 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


The problem with PBR is that it costs more than Bud, Miller or Coors (which cost more than Lonestar, Schlitz or Schaeffers).

Not around here, at least not in bars. If a bar in Chicago has PBR, it's either cheaper than any other beer, or the same price as the other cheap beers. I don't think I've ever been in a bar that has PBR and also has some other beer that is cheaper than PBR.
posted by enn at 12:47 PM on January 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


Yeah, pyramid termite, I left out "here" in my first sentence. Apologies.

Here, the local-ish American lagers are Pearl and Lonestar.
While I drank a shit ton of Pearl back in the day, the $1 savings no longer seems worth it to drink that green, GI distress inducing beer.
posted by Seamus at 12:50 PM on January 13, 2013


> the fruity Belgians

Hey, now... no need for name-calling.

Mrs. Clown and I are taking our boys (10 and 7) to Europe over our spring break week... home is Portland, Oregon.

Main stops will be Amsterdam and Paris, but we're absolutely setting aside 2 days in Belgium to devour beer and waffles, preferably at the same time. We loves us our sours and lambics, and are specifically planning to stay as close as possible to the Cantillon brewery in Brussels... can't wait. (I've actually been dreaming about it, and I almost never remember my dreams...)

If anyone has recommendations on their favorite beers/pubs along the Amsterdam/Brussels/Paris route, we'd love to hear them.
posted by rodeoclown at 12:50 PM on January 13, 2013


rodeoclown: we have a mini-posse of hardened Mefite beer drinkers concentrated in Amsterdam, and Amsterdam is currently enjoying a golden age of beer cafes. Happy to help.
posted by daveje at 12:55 PM on January 13, 2013


Amsterdam is easy: In de Wildeman, Arendsnest and the Beer Temple, all in the centre of town, all in walking distance of the Central Station. The Beer Temple specialises in providing American beers of the not making love in a canoe kind, Arendsnest has every beer in the Netherlands that isn't homebrewed or only available at source, while in de Wildeman is the best more wide ranged beer pub in the city. All are non-smoking.

There's also the Bier Koning if you want to buy bottles back home, as well as pubs run by two Amsterdam brewers: 't IJ in the east of town, a bit further out than the previous pubs and De Prael, which is located at the bottom end of the Red Light district, near Central Station again, where there's a general cluster of interesting pubs and tasting places.
posted by MartinWisse at 12:57 PM on January 13, 2013


Make sure to memail me when you stop by Brussels, I live right near by in Leuven. I'll be happy to show you the Délirium Café in Brussels or the longest bar in Europe and Stella brewery in Leuven.
posted by Blasdelb at 1:18 PM on January 13, 2013


Speaking of which, while we're all here, its about time we have another low countries meetup!
posted by Blasdelb at 1:18 PM on January 13, 2013


London liquor stores (or offies, as we call 'em) are piled high with £1/can Polish lager, which is surprisingly delicious (especially compared with the generic licensed mainstream lagers, which are uniformly dismal and practically indistinguishable), and come in a wide range of strengths from strong enough to ye gads I'm pished for two quid.

I hope that in ten years' time, a list of 'most influential' beers will include a Brewdog. Not everything they do is successful and they're a lot more commercially minded than their image suggests, but they take the beer seriously and have produced some stunners.
posted by Devonian at 1:19 PM on January 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


rodeoclown:

Brussels:
Cantillon brewery, DUH. Do the self guided tour it includes tastings at the end.

Moeder Lambic, Fontainas location. Best beer bar. Spend hours and hours here drinking cheap as hell amazing beers and eat the meat/cheese plate over and over again.

I really liked A La Becasse for the ambiance and their house beer is Timmerman's which I enjoy.

Cafe Mort Subite was also charming as hell.

Definitely take the train to 3 Fonteinen and eat at the restaurant even if you can't make it for a tour (i think it's only one day a week or something?). They have lots of their rare/cellared stuff that you can order.

Amsterdam:
't Arendsnest, which actually has great Dutch beers. The bartender was friendly and knowledgable.

Rent bikes and ride out to the Brouwerij 't IJ. It has a giant windmill and is cool.

On preview: got beaten to the punch by locals but posting this anyway because beer vacations are awesome.
posted by misskaz at 1:28 PM on January 13, 2013


Ha ha! So that's what "influential" means? So, then, why leave out that Miller Lite horse-piss millions supposedly choose?

No, the influential part was when they were the first brewery to take advantage of both pasteurization and refrigerated train cars to be able distribute beer all over the country. Before that, there wasn't a brand that was sold nationally, they just couldn't get the beer to every part of the country. Those two advances changed the course of brewing history in the US, and the world, and Busch was a savvy enough business man to be the first to take advantage of both of them. It's not how many people drank the beer, it's that they were able to that made it influential.
posted by Gygesringtone at 1:32 PM on January 13, 2013 [4 favorites]


One thing I love about the midwest: for the same price as Bud, Miller, Coors, et al, you can get one of like a half dozen styles from Leinenkugel's.
posted by jason_steakums at 2:01 PM on January 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


That's because Leinenkugels is owned by MillerCoors. (#46)
posted by Ndwright at 3:05 PM on January 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


Yeah... as much as I hate Bud, there is actually a lot to be said on both their consistency of process and groundbreaking early distribution to admit grudging admiration of how it is/was done even if I can't stand the product.... I say similar things about a lot of artist as well. Admiration and liking something can be two different things.
posted by edgeways at 3:42 PM on January 13, 2013


That's because Leinenkugels is owned by MillerCoors. (#46)

I just like them because they offer a lot of variety on the cheap, like a bargain-basement Sam Adams. You get spoiled for choice on cheap backyard bbq beers in their distribution area.
posted by jason_steakums at 3:47 PM on January 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


My 20 most influential beers are a steady rotation of whatever's $15 or less for a six pack.
posted by turgid dahlia 2 at 7:57 PM on January 13, 2013


I once ordered Newcastle in a Country-Western bar. I got a funny look, but that's the only beer that appealed to me. :)
posted by luckynerd at 9:23 PM on January 13, 2013


I once ordered Newcastle in a Country-Western bar. I got a funny look, but that's the only beer that appealed to me. :)

Oh, I can picture the scene:
luckynerd: "What kind of beer do you usually have here?"
Bartender: "Oh, we got both kinds, Bud and Bud Light!"
posted by Skeptic at 3:12 AM on January 14, 2013


That first list was way too American heavy, but Sam Adams Utopias really should have been left in. Sam Adams, for all its many faults, does capture so much of the 'microbrew' market for a reason, they figured out how to consistently make an incredible diversity of beers that were both consistent and reasonably interesting. Fowler’s Wee Heavy is worthy but shouldn't have been included to keep Sam Adams in.

I don't know. I am possibly the world's biggest Sam Adams apologist. They have revolutionized my pub-going experiences, because every hole-in-the-wall shithouse on the east coast is guaranteed to have, at the very least, a bottle of the stuff somewhere on premises to complement the Natty Ice on tap. I live 1.5 blocks from their flagship brewery--I literally walk through the parking lot to get to the train in the morning. I go to their brewery tours at 10AM on Saturdays, because it's a 3 minute walk, and the beer is free. It's all I ever buy at the liquor store, partially because I live inside their sort-of-beta-testing zone and the bigger stores always have weird new stuff they're trying out in limited commercial release and I am wildly susceptible to wacky novelty. I am the only person I know who bought a bottle of the Utopia during it's 2011 release, who tracked down one of the 8 bottles or whatever it was that made it into local release, and paid the absolutely usurious rate they charged for it because, hey, specialty Sam Adams that I have to try!

This is all to establish my credentials so that you will see the gravity when I say : their Utopias are shit. Maybe not objectively shit, but it is so bizarrely flavored (think extracted sherry with a lot of vanilla) that it is unrecognizable as beer. I have a hard time giving it away to friends who would otherwise want a cognac (which is what it should really be considered). Kudos to them for using champagne yeast to get to 29% ABV without distilling, and for and barrel-aging and flavoring with the tears of virgin unicorns, but even if the process is awesome, the end product is distinctly not.
posted by Mayor West at 5:35 AM on January 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Cash4Lead: "Interestingly enough, its bad reputation only dates back to the 1980s, when Miller tried to make it its downmarket beer in order to make room for Miller Genuine Draft, I think."

MGD is my "cheap but drinkable" beer. Bud always gives me a headache, and seems to have a metallic aftertaste, to boot.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:53 AM on January 14, 2013


Just came to say that the comments section is pretty great following the list. I hope that the discussion continue. People that know things about beer and argue about them are peopel whose internet comments I will like to read.
posted by J0 at 3:00 PM on January 14, 2013


Kudos to them for using champagne yeast to get to 29% ABV without distilling, and for and barrel-aging and flavoring with the tears of virgin unicorns, but even if the process is awesome, the end product is distinctly not.

I suggest you stay far, far away from BrewDog, then.
posted by armage at 8:07 PM on January 14, 2013


Shiner Bock
posted by rosswald at 7:36 AM on January 15, 2013


This is all to establish my credentials so that you will see the gravity when I say : their Utopias are shit. Maybe not objectively shit, but it is so bizarrely flavored (think extracted sherry with a lot of vanilla) that it is unrecognizable as beer. I have a hard time giving it away to friends who would otherwise want a cognac (which is what it should really be considered). Kudos to them for using champagne yeast to get to 29% ABV without distilling, and for and barrel-aging and flavoring with the tears of virgin unicorns, but even if the process is awesome, the end product is distinctly not.

See I liked Utopia, at least the couple of releases that I had several years ago. Although I do think the $30 per bottle jump that happened in between the year I bought a bottle was pricing it too high, they sell well so enough others seem to disagree.

I do have to disagree that it isn't recognizable as beer. The things you're complaining about are pretty established in other styles. Sherry flavors come from oxidation, and happen all the time in styles meant to be aged, barley wines and old ales in particular. I had a three year old Thomas Hardy Ale that was way more sherry like than the Utopias I had (at least that's what I remember, so I could be remembering wrong). The Vanilla likely came in at least part from the wood aging, which is (last little bit of history excluded) pretty standard when it comes to beer, especially the barley wines and old ales. It was a darker malt (for that matter I remember more dark fruit flavors too) than either of those tend to be though. Flavor wise, I thought it was a pretty well done synthesis of a barley wine and a Belgian quadruple.

What DID differentiate it from any modern style of beer was the high alcohol (which was the point) and lack of carbonation. If we refuse to call it a beer on the grounds of carbonation, we're basically saying that you need a certain level of technology to produce beer, and I think the people producing traditional beers in Africa might have a problem with that, as well as the ancient Egyptians, Sumerians, et. al. Let's not forget that there is some evidence that one of the reasons for a transition from a purely hunter-gatherer society to one that raises crops was to raise grains for porridge beers.

So relatively unique? Yes. Still beer? Yes.
posted by Gygesringtone at 11:02 AM on January 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


(First time back at the computer in a while) Thanks to all for the suggestions for pit-stops on our family/beer vacation... which probably should have been its own askmetafilter question, but I guess I couldn't help blurting it out in a tangentially-related thread!

There's certainly more that we want to do than we have time and tolerance for, at least if we don't want their European memories to be "Amsterdam is where Daddy fell down" and "Brussels is where I held Mommy's hair".

Man, that link detailing the scope of ABInBev and MillerCoors's brands went waaay longer and deeper than I even cynically expected it to. Didn't know that Leinie's was part of it; thought they were just a plucky regional operation. The description of them as a "bargain-basement Sam Adams" was dead on... they're often the go-to brand while visiting my family in the Minnesota/Wisconsin borderlands (except for their Berry Weiss, which even my mother derided as "Skittle Beer" (and she didn't even know about Skittlebrau).

So Leinie's Berry Weiss is in the very exclusive club of "beers I have poured down the drain". (I believe the only other member is Dog Bite, for which I probably should have been wearing gloves and a respirator.)
posted by rodeoclown at 1:37 PM on January 15, 2013


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